The 2013 Belmont Stakes doesn't feature a horse chasing the elusive Triple Crown. Instead, the marquee race's main attraction is a rematch between Kentucky Derby champ Orb and Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow.
Whether either of those talented colts will be able to handle the extra distance at the end of a difficult Triple Crown journey is a major question mark. It leaves the door open for other horses and jockeys to pick up a major victory of their own.
One of the biggest factors is post position. With a sizable field like the Belmont will feature, where a horse starts the race is key. With that in mind, let's take a look at where all the contenders will break from on Saturday and examine some long shots that could steal the spotlight.
2013 Belmont Stakes Post Positions
|1||Frac Daddy||A. Garcia||K. McPeek||30-1|
|2||Freedom Child||L. Saez||T. Albertrani||8-1|
|3||Overanalyze ||J. Velazquez||T. Pletcher||12-1|
|4||Giant Finish||E. Prado||A. Dutrow||30-1|
|5||Orb||J. Rosario||C. McGaughey III||3-1|
|6||Incognito||I. Ortiz Jr.||K. McLaughlin||20-1|
|7||Oxbow||G. Stevens||D.W. Lukas||5-1|
|8||Midnight Taboo||G. Gomez||T. Pletcher||30-1|
|9||Revolutionary||J. Castellano||T. Pletcher||9-2|
|10||Will Take Charge||J. Court||D.W. Lukas||20-1|
|11||Vyjack||J. Leparoux||R. Rodriguez||20-1|
|12||Palace Malice||M. Smith||T. Pletcher||15-1|
|13||Unlimited Budget||R. Napravnik||T. Pletcher||8-1|
|14||Golden Soul||R. Albarado||D. Stewart||10-1|
Post positions and odds are courtesy of the race's official site.
Long Shots to Watch
Palace Malice drew the No. 12 gate, which is safe. Any further out, and it would have become an issue. Breaking from one of the extreme outside posts against an elite field is always an unenviable task because of the extra decisions it forces a jockey to make.
Heading into the Kentucky Derby, Palace Malice was an intriguing horse. He had finished out of the money just once in six races and was coming off the most complete performance of his career, second place in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes.
He never found a comfort zone in the first leg of the Triple Crown, struggling to a 12th-place finish. The early pace was likely a factor. Mike Smith should be able to get a lot more out of him this time around, and the extra rest won't hurt.
Overanalyze is another Kentucky Derby horse that didn't live up to the hype at Churchill Downs. He won four of his first seven races, including the Arkansas Derby, but was only able to muster an 11th-place showing in the year's biggest race.
He returns with a legitimate chance to challenge Orb and Oxbow. The biggest key is getting a quick start out of the No. 3 post. John Velazquez must set his focus on beating Frac Daddy and Freedom Child into the first turn.
Since Orb and Oxbow are both starting to his outside, getting to the inside right away and setting a safe pace should allow him to have the late kick necessary to contend in the final stretch. But it's only possible with a perfect ride from Velazquez.
Will Take Charge
Will Take Charge took part in each of the first two Triple Crown legs. The results were disappointing. He finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby and seventh in the Preakness Stakes, and he was never a serious threat to the eventual winners.
That said, the length of the race should serve as the equalizer in the Belmont. Distance wasn't a problem for him in either of the first two races; he just didn't have the pace necessary to keep up. It's not a surprise given the terrific runs Orb and Oxbow had.
As is usually the case at Belmont Park, the longer race (12 furlongs) will probably lead to a slower overall speed. Jon Court should have both Triple Crown race winners in his sights right out of the gate, giving Will Take Charge one more chance to strike gold.